Ticket Demand for Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl

On the 1-10 Ridiculous Scale, with 10 being completely ridiculous, where does a football game called the Sugar Bowl rank? For my money, pretty high, since I can’t discern any connection whatsoever between sugar and football, and since the American sugar industry doesn’t seem to be sponsoring the game in any way.

Oh well. Tradition’s tradition, I guess.

Truth be told, it’s technically the Allstate Sugar Bowl, even though no one calls it that. This year, the (Allstate) Sugar Bowl’s showing up in a big way. With the Crimson Tide and Sooners meeting in New Orleans, Sugar Bowl ticket prices are up a whopping 69% from this time last year, as the average resale price was only $197 per ticket in the first two days after last year’s Louisville-Florida matchup was set.

Of course, if we’re being thorough in our conversation about ridiculous bowl names, the Cotton Bowl’s got to be up there too. Fans have paid an average of $335 for a ticket to the Cotton Bowl since the Oklahoma State-Missouri matchup was announced Sunday, up 5% from an average of $319 prior to the announcement. The market for the Sugar Bowl received an even larger boost from the news that it would host Alabama and Oklahoma; fans have paid an average of $332 since the announcement, up 16% from an average of $286 prior to Sunday. To summarize, while the Cotton Bowl’s pretty cool, the Sugar Bowl’s cooler.

Last year’s Cotton Bowl between Oklahoma and Texas A&M was a bigger draw than this year’s Oklahoma State-Missouri game, as the average resale price jumped 57% from $305 to $479 per ticket after the Sooners and Aggies were selected. While that means demand is down 30% for Cotton Bowl tickets this year (average resale price is $335 per ticket), demand is four times what it was for Oklahoma State’s bowl game last year — the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Purdue, a game which drew an average resale price of just $83 per ticket. So yeah, Oklahoma State’s definitely happy, even if Cotton Bowl execs aren’t.

This year, the Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl are the third and fourth-most in-demand bowl games, respectively. Last year, the Cotton Bowl was the second-most in-demand bowl game behind only the BCS Championship Game, and the Sugar Bowl was the fifth-most in-demand game. Below are the top five bowl games in each of the last two years ranked by average resale price per ticket in the first two days after matchups were announced:

Top 5 Bowl Games Ranked by Avg. Resale Price Per Ticket

Year Game Teams Price
2013 BCS Champ. Florida V Auburn $1,154
Rose Bowl Stanford V Michigan $601
Cotton Bowl Oklahoma V Missouri $335
Sugar Bowl Alabama V Oklahoma $332
Fiesta Bowl UCF V Baylor $168
2012 BCS Champ. Notre Dame V Alabama $2,068
Rose Bowl Oklahoma V Texas A&M $479
Cotton Bowl Stanford V Wisconsin $294
Sugar Bowl Kansas State V Oregon $272
Fiesta Bowl Louisville V Florida $197

*Ticket prices based on first two days after matchups were announced

If you’re looking for the least expensive ticket to either game – and let’s be honest, you are – the Cotton Bowl is cheaper; tickets start at $115 apiece in the nosebleeds, while the cheapest Sugar Bowl tickets are $191 each. On the high end, we’ve seen fans pay more than $2,000 per ticket for Sugar Bowl seats at midfield, while even the most expensive club seats at the Cotton Bowl have gone for less than $900 each.

Sugar or Cotton, we’re all looking forward to some quality football. Weird names be damned.